Rafael Nadal finished his ATP Finals campaign with a win after he downed Casper Ruud 7-5, 7-5 at the prestigious season-finale, here on Thursday.
The top seed raised his level in his third round-robin match in Green Group, using the fast conditions to his advantage with some trademark clean ball striking. The Spaniard hit 37 winners to Ruud’s 19 and won 93 percent (38/41) of points behind his first serve to seal a one-hour, 43-minute victory and round out his 2022 season on a winning note.
“I have been practising well. Just probably not enough matches to be at the level that I needed to be. Not enough confidence, probably, after six tough months. That’s how it is. I accept that the season didn’t end the way that I wanted, [but] at least I finished with a positive victory,” a philosophical Nadal said after his win.
“It’s important, the last official match of the season, so I am happy about that. In the end, I am happy about that I was able to win against a great player,” he added.
The win means Nadal finishes with a 1-2 record at this year’s season finale. The 36-year-old, who this year lifted four tour-level titles, including major crowns at the Australian Open and Roland Garros, ends 2022 with a 39-8 tour-level record.
“I can’t ask for more. 2022 has had a tough six months, two Grand Slams, and finishing the year in a high spot in the rankings. So, I can’t complain at all. At my age, to be able to achieve and be competitive means a lot for me,” said Nadal.
“For 2023, just let’s try to have the right preparation, work the proper way and start the season with the right energy, the right attitude, to reach the level that I need to be competitive from the beginning. Let’s try it, I am excited about it,” he added.
Despite Thursday’s defeat, Ruud progresses to the semi-finals in Turin for the second consecutive year.
Joining the Norwegian in qualifying for the semifinals from Green Group will be Felix Auger-Aliassime or Taylor Fritz. The duo faces off in a winner-takes-all clash in Thursday’s night session at the Pala Alpitour.